Today, we received the following comment on the Lighthouse Trails Facebook page and would like to respond as others may share this person’s sentiments. The comment stated:
I always found the booklets helpful but they are quite expensive in my view. I purchase tracts from pinpoint evangelism and I get a stack of 100 for 5 dollars and up. I always eyed these but to pay about 2 dollars for just one booklet is a bit pricey for me. Please do not take it as an insult, I am hoping you find cheaper vendors to print making it more accessible to those of us who have been called to preach to masses.
Here is what we would like to say about our booklets—
Our booklets are not the size of a tract. A tract generally holds a few hundred words. Our booklets are book size (in dimensions) and anywhere from 3000-6000 words. That’s why we call them booklets and not tracts. There’s a lot of information and documentation in them (and hours of work that has gone into writing and creating them). Tracts are good to hand out to strangers or leave in bathrooms. The booklets are designed to hand out to friends, family members, pastors, etc – people you are acquainted with who have particular needs and issues. Each one has a different topic (e.g., Yoga, Reiki, Meditation, Enneagrams, etc.) so one can prayerfully select the right one for each recipient.
In order to give a person enough information to understand a topic (without handing him or her a 200-page book that may never be read), we believe the booklets are the perfect format and length. Any shorter, and we could not document our findings.
We have yet to see a booklet of the quality in which Lighthouse Trails produces them sell at a lower price (with the exception of some non-profit organizations who rely primarily on donations – Lighthouse Trails is not in that category). However, even though we do not have the advantage of being a 501 (c) 3 organization (a choice we made many years ago), we have given away thousands of booklets as well as pay part of the proceeds of sales to the authors (royalties). Keep in mind that while each booklet is $1.95, we have quantity discounts starting at 6 copies that go as low as $1.07 each.
Lighthouse Trails does something most publishers do not do: we place the entire content of each booklet on our blog, providing a print feature that allows any reader to print the booklet for free. You see our goal and motivation at Lighthouse Trails is not to make money. While we, like any other business or ministry, have a need for money to keep our doors open, we do not have a love for money or an ambition toward it. Our desire and motivation is to help others.
At the risk of sounding defensive or self-promoting, we want to close with this. Several years ago, in the early years of Lighthouse Trails, Saddleback Church (Rick Warren’s church) was sending out e-mails to people (with the hopes of discrediting our work) saying that “Ray Yungen and Lighthouse Trails were sitting on a pile of money.” It became almost a joke here for us because nothing could have been further from the truth. And all these years later, it still is anything but the truth. The editors at Lighthouse Trails work tirelessly, each receiving a very modest salary for the work we do. As for the price of the booklets, when we began creating the booklet project in 2012, we purchased a good used Xerox machine that would do the printing (thus keeping our costs down by doing the printing ourselves), picked out some high quality gloss paper that would increase the longevity of each booklet, contracted with each author for a royalty rate that is higher than any other publisher we know about in today’s publishing industry. And when we figured out all our costs, we came up with a retail price that anyone could afford, then added in several generous quantity discounts. We say all this mostly for those who are skeptical and who think that Lighthouse Trails charges too much for our booklets. We have not said these things to puff ourselves up but rather to describe what goes on behind the scenes that influences our decisions.
It is always our prayer that our books and booklets will be useful to those who read them; and while they are warning about deception, we strive in each one to point readers to God’s wonderful Word and His saving grace through Christ.